Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. – Catherine Malatesta, a 16-year old junior from Arlington, who loves field hockey, singing and acting was welcomed by the Tufts field hockey team joining the team for dinner on Monday night in what looks to be the first of many team dinners for Catherine.
Catherine and the team were connected through Team IMPACT, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by establishing and expanding vibrant team-based support networks.
A junior on the Arlington High School field hockey and crew teams, Catherine was diagnosed just this past December (2014) with epitheloid sarcoma, which is a rare and slow growing cancer where tumors usually occur in the upper extremities. She is undergoing chemotherapy now and they will be adding radiation therapy to her treatment plan as well.
Catherine met the team at the Tisch Sports and Fitness Center on Monday night where she welcomed by the team and head coach Tina McDavitt-Mattera. The team made a video introducing themselves to Catherine and her family, and the whole group had a bunch of laughs watching that. After Catherine received her jersey and some new Tufts Field Hockey gear, the girls and coach McDavitt took Catherine and her parents up to Carmichael for dinner.
“Having Catherine and her family here was great,” said McDavitt-Mattera. “We are so excited that Catherine and her family can be a part of our team are excited to be a support network for such an amazing young girl. Tufts Field Hockey is honored and excited that we have been paired with Catherine and her family.”
The girls on the team and Catherine quickly realized they have a lot in common, enjoying the same TV shows, music and, of course, field hockey. The team hopes to attend Catherine’s musical at the end of March, and is looking forward to having her involved in other team activities.
“Meeting Catherine was extremely fun, and I loved just talking with her and the rest of the team at dinner,” first-year Libby DesRuisseaux said. “She felt like a natural addition to the team.”
Catherine has two younger brothers, Reid (11 years old) and Drew (13 years old). She sings with the Arlington High School “Madrigals.” She just began her college search, but is interested in studying pre-law wherever she goes.
“I think more than anything it will provide us with an opportunity to rally around a better cause and also gain inspiration from such an awesome 16-year old,” sophomore Dominique Zarrella said. “She also has a great personality, so I think it’ll only make the TUFH bond stronger.”
Tufts women’s soccer team was the first to draft a child with Team IMPACT, and Joli Vega has been part of the Jumbos for three years. Other draftees include Kevin Gonzalesz to the men’s basketball team, Riley Roman to the football team, Shannon Curley to the women’s basketball team, Jacob Beranger to the men’s lacrosse team, Matt Govostes to the men’s soccer team and Ethan Cafferky to the sailing team.